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Differential responsiveness to cigarette price by education and income among adult urban Chinese smokers: findings from the ITC China Survey
  1. Jidong Huang1,
  2. Rong Zheng2,
  3. Frank J Chaloupka1,3,4,
  4. Geoffrey T Fong5,6,7,
  5. Yuan Jiang8
  1. 1Health Policy Center, Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  2. 2School of International Trade and Economics, University of International Business and Economics, Beijing, China
  3. 3Health Policy Center, Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  4. 4WHO Collaborating Centre on the Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Control
  5. 5Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  6. 6Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  7. 7School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  8. 8Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, China
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jidong Huang, Health Policy Center, Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1747 West Roosevelt Rd, Chicago, IL 60608, USA; jhuang12{at}uic.edu

Abstract

Background Few studies have examined the impact of tobacco tax and price policies in China. In addition, very little is known about the differential responses to tax and price increases based on socioeconomic status in China.

Objective To estimate the conditional cigarette consumption price elasticity among adult urban smokers in China and to examine the differential responses to cigarette price increases among groups with different income and/or educational levels.

Methods Multivariate analyses employing the general estimating equations method were conducted using the first three waves of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) China Survey. Analyses based on subsample by education and income were conducted.

Findings Conditional cigarette demand price elasticity ranges from −0.12 to −0.14. No differential responses to cigarette price increase were found across education levels. The price elasticity estimates do not differ between high-income smokers and medium-income smokers. Cigarette consumption among low-income smokers did not decrease after a price increase, at least among those who continued to smoke.

Conclusions Relative to other low-income and middle-income countries, cigarette consumption among Chinese adult smokers is not very sensitive to changes in cigarette prices. The total impact of cigarette price increase would be larger if its impact on smoking initiation and cessation, as well as the price-reducing behaviours such as brand switching and trading down, were taken into account.

  • Economics
  • Taxation
  • Price
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